With many storylines surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers this off-season, one that isn’t mentioned as much due to Dwight Howard‘s pending free agency is Pau Gasol‘s future, and whether he should remain in a Lakers uniform or if the team should possibly cut ties with the 7 foot Spaniard.
The two-time NBA champion has had his struggles with his level of production being on the decline over the last two seasons across the board. This season, Gasol averaged a career low in points with 13.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg and 4.1 apg, as he missed 32 games due to injuries. There was also the ongoing problems with head coach Mike D’Antoni, who believed the big man tandem of Gasol and Howard could not work on the court, which ultimately led to moving Gasol to the bench. This contributed to the loss of confidence in Gasol’s play while on the floor.
Despite the disappointing overall performance by Gasol, he took his game another level when Kobe Bryant went down with injury, and ended up being able to post a triple double in two of the final three games of the regular season, as he maintained to average a double double throughout the first round of the playoffs with 14 ppg and 11.5 rpg.
Gasol has reiterated to the Lakers organization that we wants to return to this team and he also has received a vote of approval from Kobe Bryant.
However, the Lakers may not be able to afford to keep Gasol at the price of $19.2 million dollars for the 2013-2014 season as they’re once again projected to be over the luxury tax next year. Also, there’s lingering health concerns: Gasol recently went through successful knee surgery to treat tendinitis that will have him out of basketball activities for 12 weeks.
The idea of moving Gasol in a trade would be bittersweet for both Laker fans and the organization as he has left his footprints on this franchise by bringing two NBA championships to the city of Los Angeles. However, the Lakers must find ways to enhance their roster if they intend to once again compete for the Larry O’Brien trophy, and trading Pau Gasol for the right pieces may be one of the best ways to do that.
This is an article by Eugene Jones. You can follow him on Twitter: @Hugo_Jones1